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Jumaboi Tolibov, a Tajik journalist, during his trial in July 2005 (RFE/RL)
PRAGUE, March 8, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- The U.S. State Department said in its annual report on human rights worldwide that governments in Central Asia are still failing to observe the rights of their citizens.
The report said Kazakhstan, where the incumbent president was re-elected with more than 90 percent of the vote last December, placed "severe limits on citizens' rights to change their government." The report also cited arbitrary arrests and detentions, particularly of government opponents and harassment of opposition media.
Tajikistan was also criticized for restricting the rights of citizens to change their government, but also for poor conditions in prisons and obtaining confessions through torture.
The reported noted the same problems in Turkmenistan as in Tajikistan, but also denial of due process and a fair trial and restrictions on freedom of speech.
Kyrgyzstan, where longtime President Askar Akaev was ousted in a popular revolt last year, was criticized for Akaev government restrictions on freedom of speech, the press, and assembly. But the new leadership was also cited for the impunity of security forces and discrimination against ethnic minorities.
For an overview of the State Department report, click here.